Blog 1582 – 01.17.2020
Rearranging Things And Letting Go A Few
I have shared that I have long challenged the “status quo” not just on principle but because I have a tendency to get bored with the same ole same ole. Many have such an aversion to change that they become quite paralyzed when forced to make a decision, to make a change. One of these folks’ favorite lines to quote is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” One of my favorite lines to quote on the other hand is, “Even if it ain’t broke we can still try to make it better.”
And the chances are even if it is not completely broken yet that it soon will be or that we have just gotten so used to poor performance that we have come to expect nothing better. Many years ago in my role as a quality professional I read about what started a genuine quality revolution at the Tenant Corporation. Tenant had for many years been the leading U.S. manufacture of large floor and pavement sweepers and cleaners and decided to expand their market into Japan. Shortly after launching their proven product lines in Japan they began to get a lot of customer complains regarding oil leaks. They were taken completely by surprise as they had never had complaints before. They launched an intensive investigation into the problem. Thinking that something must have shaken loose along the longer shipment routes to Japan. But what they found was even more eye-opening. There were no differences at all with the equipment sold in the U.S. and that received in Japan. The only difference was in customer expectations. U.S. customer were used to leaking equipment, oil stained driveways, garages, and warehouses. Japanese customers were not. They proudly kept painted and polished their factory floors, warehouses, personal garages, and drive ways and had a real problem with “cleaning equipment” that created a mess while parked waiting to be used.
Good enough, business as usually, and the status quo had met a customer who expected better and more and would only be satisfied with continuing improvement. The race for a better and better products was on.
We should all, I think, avoid “sitting on our laurels” content with yesterday’s successes or we just might find ourselves owning the best buggy whip factory in a town that no longer buys or uses buggy whips. This business model can also apply to our personal lives. The only way to present and maintain the best version of ourselves is to be always evaluating our personal performance and attitudes and be about a continuous self-improvement process.
If we fail to do this, history will pass us by and we will be the dinosaurs of our day. Most people who are considered racists, homophobes, sexual harassers, or mangers just lacking in people skills would have been thought the norm fifty years ago. Times have changes as they (we) should have and far slower than some of us might have wished and not nearly enough yet. And there are still a very vocal and yet powerful few of us who seem determined to be brought into the twenty-first century, if a all, kicking and screaming. And I sympathize with them as I do with the poor smokers huddled out in the cold and rain refusing to quit smoking even if they must add pneumonia to the emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, and smelly clothes and breath they are already working on.
Why is it so hard to change, to rearrange or let go of even a few things? Why, when faced with endless possibilities, would we settle for complacency and even being uncomfortable? A line from one of my favorite movies An Unfinished Life comes to mind. Jenifer Lopez, just out of the last of several relationships where she allowed boyfriends to beat and abuse her, says to the town sheriff that she has come to like, “You wanna know the dirty secret, why we stay. It is because we think we don’t deserve any better.” We’ll, I am here to tell you, that is a a lie straight out of puny little ego’s hellish heart. The truth is – everything is ours already and coming to us at just the right time and in just the right way from our loving and infinite source. Just let go, the better always awaits for us to rearrange, to let go a few things, to make room to receive it.
Your friend and fellow traveler,